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Fishing Realtor

Early goose over water?

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Anyone have any tips for hunting over water for early goose? Do you try to find a specific pothole they're definitly loafing on, or just set up in an area where several flocks are moving around and try to pull groups in? Also, with the heat this time of year, what time of day seems to be best to be sitting over water (1/2 hr b4 sunrise, sundown)?

Thanks a ton for any thoughts...

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We are hunting over water the first day on a small lake that is holding about 50 birds, but we have had excellent success hunting water where we know there are birds in the area. Geese are really easy to call into decoys on water after they have been shot at in the fields. I dont believe that you can go wrong hunting the water with a good spread and some good calling. It is a blast. Good Luck!

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Hunt however you like, and I'm not trying to get on anybodies case here, and hunting over water is legal, but, think about this for a minute. Water is where they roost. Many times a flock, or flocks of flocks, will roost on the same body of water. Mostly cuz they like it there and they feel safe. Until they get shot at, then they are gone. For continued success, day after day, get them in the fields and let them be on the water. That way bunches of them will be back tomorrow and the next day and so on and so on.

Yes, it's fun gettin them on the water. Once again, I'm not trying to get on anyones case here, just throwing an idea out there.

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Boilerguy, you make a very good point. I have heard this a number of times from the pros as well(not that you aren't a pro grin.gif) If you shoot them off the roost they will leave the area. That being said if you are out for a one day hunt, hit the water and hammer them, just don't expect to get up the next morning and repeat that. I prefer to find the roost pond and then get permission on feilds near by. Like Boiler said though, it's totally up to you and what you want to do. I know guys that have hit the same lake 3 days in a row and hammerred them every day, but that is very rare. Just friendly advise.

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Just wondering, unless you own the land, are there any farmers who will let you hunt theirs fields in early season? They are usually still holding standing crops, arent' they? Any advice on how to ask farmers during that time frame? Later in season is easier. I actually stopped hunting early season years ago becasue of so little land available unless you were the farmers brother in law smile.gif

Thanks,

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Just follow the geese out to where they are feeding. Open up the plot book and find out who owns the land. Most farmers are glad to see the geese shot. The only time I was ever turned down was when someone beat me to the punch. Unless things have change in the last 5 years. Most will even let you drive out in the field...but ask first some a pretty testy when it comes to that without being asked.

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Wht does this need to come up every year. Fishing realtor is asking a question about hunting on water and the majority simply say "don't hunt over water, hunt over a field". Now this thread is going to turn into the whole debate about hunting the roost or not to hunt the roost. Just because someone is hunting over water doesn't mean they are disturbing a roosting site. There are plenty of places that one can hunt over water thats not near a roosting site. I hunt over water during the early goose season every year. I get geese and I never hunt a roosting area. I do this because I am not a guy who likes to go knocking on doors asking permission to hunt other peoples land.

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Nova if I'm a pro then the sport just went down hill real fast. grin.gif

Geese will (insert pause) usually (another pause) spend the night on the water, wake up, then fly out to feed. After feeding they come back to the water where they poop in the lake all day. Then, later in the day they fly out to feed again, and come back to spend the evening swimming happily and pooping in the water until the next day. A dude can almost set his watch by a flocks behavior.

Having said that, if you go to the water early morning and set up dekes there is a good chance you will spook them.

Sleep in a little, watch them fly away, then set up some water dekes while they are out feeding. Hammer down on them when they return.

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We'll hunt them on water as well, but early season is pretty difficult if the birds aren't already using that area. The local birds are in their pattern, and unless you can fit into that pattern, its tough. Later in the season as migrators start coming, it seams like any ole patch of water works fine.

To elaborate on what Boilerguy mentioned, our best on water goose hunting is around 10:30 to noon but it varies a little. You need to catch them coming back to water after eating.

During the duck season, we'll shoot our ducks in the morning and then sit around for awhile and wait for the geese to start moving. They definitely have more willingness to drop into a water spread in the middle of the day.

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This topic gets brought up all the time, should you hunt the water or the fields, one of the issues we have in some parts of mn is the small number of fields to hunt on and all of them seem to be spoken for so it can be very hard to find a place to hunt. I disagree as to shooting them on the water will cause all the birds to leave, it just moves them from one area to another, shoot a field every day all day and they won't come back either. I think a lot of the comments about not hunting the water comes from the guy that has the control of the only huntable small grain fields in the area. We hunt over water the old traditional way with hand made boats and decoys and row with oars, I kind of think that it would be better if we let them feed undisturbed in the fields and than they would stay around longer. I think its more important to not hunt the same spot every day and move the pressure around and the birds will stay around as long as they can, it is in there nature to move south in the fall.

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Another thing that just hit me with geese over water is, unlike some ducks, they do NOT want to be close to the shoreline. So if you are hunting a lake or a large slough it helps to see the flocks leave and see where they went. Then, if possible, set up so they return at your back and you may get a good pass shot at them. However, this will only work until they have been shot at a couple times. After that they come back to water real high, go to the middle of the lake, and drop outta the sky like a rock, straight down. Fret not, many times you can let them land, and honk at them and they swim to your decoys, sometimes.

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Fields are good, but the trick for this year is finding a good feeding field because some farmers in the STC/St. Joe area are already pulling corn off so there won't be any come Sept 1. If you can find a good grain field this year you should be set. As far as water goes it's a great time especially on the river because it's a main flyway last year we shot 10-15 opener on the miss, then went to a field and shot 1 a couple days later. Either way it's a good time.

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Hanson and Boilerguy couldn't have said it better in my opinion. If you're going to hunt water (regardless of whether you can hunt fields or if it's your only option) it's best to wait for the geese to get up and head out for breakfast and put the hurt on 'em when they come back for a drink.

If I had the choice of land or water (obviously it's different situations for everyone) I would say I prefer to hunt fields. If you hunt water, you get that window from late-morning to early-afternoon and that's about it. When they return again in the evening, my experience has been that it's usually after shooting hours. Just as we're loading up the trucks, here come the geese to roost for the night. If water is your only choice, scout out the area beforehand and plan your hunts carefully. If you do everything right it can be slaughter, then you have to wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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I thought it is illegal to hunt over water? confused.gif At least thats what I thought? Have to be 200 yards away?

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Quote:

I thought it is illegal to hunt over water? At least thats what I thought? Have to be 200 yards away?


NW zone and SE zone (not sure), some WMA such as Carlos Avery, Lac Qui Parle and some other areas. No less than 100 yards.

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They changed that law a couple of years back. There are some stipulations in certain areas, but read the regs. when they become available.

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From what I found out in my area, not matter whether you shoot at the flock over land or on the water (although I have not hunted many over water), they do not return to that same spot. You have to hope for "fresh geese" or find another spot.

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If all these city guys wouldnt come out and pay thousands of dollars for our fields and take them out from under us that mad.gifwe have hunted over the past 15 years we could hunt some land. But thanks to the guys that like to pay a farmer a couple of thousand dollars so they can hunt for 2 days, we have no early season fields. So we feel like we can return the favor by hunting the birds roost so they only get 1 good day of shooting.

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I am sorry boilerguy, we hunt them just like ducks and they come right into the deeks. 20 yard shots all day. Lets not encourage pass shooting, alot of wounded birds thats all you get from that.

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If that works for you then that is wonderful. I kill as many geese pass shooting as I do decoying them in. Same goes for cripples. Just gotta lead them a little different I'm glad, however, that you have better luck with the decoys than we have in our corner of the state. In this area the birds smarten up pretty quick. I've never had the opportunity to goose hunt any other areas of the state so I can't say how the birds act elsewhere.

The other comments about the nasty city folks taking all your land aren't worth a reply or arguement. Let's keep the posting informative and fun, not arguementative or cynical.

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Maybe we should pass on the informative thing to the others too that like to trash talk certain opinions of others than too. I have hunted all parts of the state for geese on the water and have had excellent success. If you are pass shooting and know your distances then go for it. I dont mean to be trash talking, but I am tired of trying to compete for the land that I have hunted for years. I dont have that deep pocketbook that some guys have. I want to be able to take my kids out hunting in the future and I dont think it is fair to myself or kids that some of these guys are doing this to the sport that should be fun for all of us. I have never in my life had to work so hard to find land as I have in the last couple of years. It is a good thing that the population of geese is growing and that they are spread out over a larger area than they were 10-15 years ago so that we all can still enjoy the sport, otherwise the guys with the deep pocketbooks would be the only ones getting in on the action.

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I don't have that problem here. If others hunting the fields you are used to is a problem maybe try hunting over more water. The lakes are public. I'm not familiar with your area, maybe try more public land? I know a great many people can't do it, but try getting in the fields during the week.

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The population of geese is high! Correct me if I'm wrong. So if your in a area with a couple diffent lakes and fields in the area, geese are going to be flying. Lets just say there are hunters in the fields and on the lakes. Everyone is going to be pushing the birds around! So I would say that eveyone one has a pretty good chance at getting some geese! I have hunted both water and field with mixed results in both areas.

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Agreed. Sometimes moving to different spots from time to time isn't a bad thing.

Another tip for hunting geese over water is try setting up a confidence decoy also. A crane or egret or heron works real well here.

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We do have plenty of land to hunt during regular season, so that is not a problem. It just sucks that we have to compete with the almighty dollar to have a little fun in the field. We hunt both water and fields and have good luck with both. I hope I didnt ruffle any feathers here, just a little frustrated this year thats all. Boilerguy, we hunt the Hutchinson area, just so you know. We have some land here by Clearwater, but not enough to hold us over for the whole year, alot of the land is spoken for here too. Good luck to you this fall.

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